WebSafe or WebSmart?

by Theralynn D.

When set to the task of writing my first newsletter for Web Mystery Shoppers, I spent a huge amount of time pondering what my first article should be about.  I read through shopper questions, looked through recent IT articles on the web, and asked myself, “What is important to shoppers these days?”  Sitting here in front of my laptop I was still undecided, and then it hit me.  The answer has been right in front of me all this time.

Recently, my 8 year old daughter and I have been doing a bit of “negotiating” for Internet access at home.  Her interest in the Internet has been growing over the last year and very recently, homework assignments have required her do research- a task that is easily completed online.

Web safety is an issue that parents – or anyone who has a young child that they care for – need to be aware of.  Technology progresses in leaps and bounds, and with it comes the undeniable reality that we must march forward with it or get lost in cyberdust.

So the question is, “How do we allow our children the freedom to grow and experience and learn online while keeping them safe?”

The first priority is education – making them aware of the facts and the dangers is the most important factor.  Beyond that, we can implement parent control software and monitor usage closely.  The fact is, we’re not going to be able to keep our children 100% WebSafe, but we can make them WebSmart.

Here are the Internet guidelines for our house:

  1. Internet access is limited to ½ an hour per day unless there is a specific research project that requires more time.  Extended usage must be approved in advance.
  2. Site visits are limited to sites listed on “Favorites” list – any new sites must first be reviewed by a parent, and if deemed suitable, will be added to favorites list.
  3. Email account(s) are set up in such a way that a copy of incoming AND outgoing messages are sent to Mom’s email account.
  4. Computer time can only be used  in “common areas” of the house such as the kitchen or living room and an adult must be present.
  5. Spot checks can and will be done and will include examination of temporary files and history.
  6. Violation of the above will result in loss of privileges for a period of 1 week.

Do you have WebSmart solutions that have worked well in your home? If so, we would love to hear about them!

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